[Aristotle], de Mirabilibus Auscultationibus 154
When the crater on Etna erupted, and lava was carried here and there over the land like a swollen stream, all the pious paid honour to the god. Some young men were encircled by the stream, because they were bearing their aged parents on their shoulders, and saving them; but the fiery stream parted in two, and part of the flame went one side and part the other, and preserved the young men unharmed together with their parents.
Strabo, Geography 6.2.2
Catana, moreover, was founded by the same Naxians, whereas Tauromenium was founded by the Zanclaeans of Hybla; but Catana lost its original inhabitants when Hiero, tyrant of Syracuse, established a different set of colonists there and called it Aetna instead of Catana. And Pindar too calls him the founder of Aetna when he says: “Attend to what I say to thee, O Father, whose name is that of the holy sacrifices, founder of Aetna.” But at the death of Hiero the Catanaeans came back, ejected the inhabitants, and demolished the tomb of the tyrant. And the Aetnaeans, on withdrawing, took up their abode in a hilly district of Aetna called Innesa, and called the place, which is eighty stadia from Catana, Aetna, and declared Hiero its founder. Now the city of Aetna is situated in the interior about over Catana, and shares most in the devastation caused by the action of the craters; in fact the streams of lava rush down very nearly as far as the territory of Catana; and here is the scene of the act of filial piety, so often recounted, of Amphinomus and Anapias, who lifted their parents on their shoulders and saved them from the doom that was rushing upon them. According to Poseidonius, when the mountain is in action, the fields of the Catanaeans are covered with ash-dust to a great depth. Now although the ash is an affliction at the time, it benefits the country in later times, for it renders it fertile and suited to the vine, the rest of the country not being equally productive of good wine; further, the roots produced by the fields that have been covered with ash-dust make the sheep so fat, it is said, that they choke; and this is why blood is drawn from their ears every four or five days — a thing of which I have spoken before109 as occurring near Erytheia. But when the lava changes to a solid, it turns the surface of the earth into stone to a considerable depth, so that quarrying is necessary on the part of any who wish to uncover the original surface; for when the mass of rock in the craters melts and then is thrown up, the liquid that is poured out over the top is black mud and flows down the mountain, and then, solidifying, becomes millstone, keeping the same colour it had when in a liquid state. And ash is also produced when the stones are burnt, as from wood; therefore, just as wood-ashes nourish rue, so the ashes of Aetna, it is reasonable to suppose, have some quality that is peculiarly suited to the vine.